The sharing of food has always been very important to me and everyone deserves to have good food on their table. That’s why I was so deeply touched when I visited the Melbourne branch of food charity, FareShare, and got an insight into the work the team there does, in rescuing food to prepare meals for those in need, with the help of volunteers.
From the moment, Rosie, the Manager of the Volunteer Programs, welcomed me at the door and invited me in to share lunch with the crew, I knew that while it is a very professionally run organisation, FareShare operates very much from the heart.
An insider tour quickly gave me an understanding of the enormity of their operation. Sourcing food, securing sponsors, managing volunteers and producing 6,000 meals every day out of their Abbotsford quantity kitchen, to be distributed through various charitable agencies to those that need it the most.
Rosie pointed out that while many of their meals go to people that need support daily, sometimes, it is for individuals or families that are just going through a bit of a rough patch and need a little bolstering to see them through. The gift of a home style meal is one less thing to worry about when they are under stress.
The kitchen produces a range of pastry items – quiches, home style sausage and veggie rolls – and slow cooked stews, casseroles, curries and tagines, as well as pasta and rice dishes that are all created with food ingredient donations, packaged and then frozen for distribution. The chefs have to be resourceful and innovative with whatever comes in the door to turn it into tasty and nutritious meals, and the whole system needs to run like clockwork to ensure that the valuable time put in by the very generous army of volunteers is utilised well. Food donations come from corporate businesses, with a major contribution from Woolworths on a daily basis, as well as FareShare’s own kitchen gardens that grow abundant supplies of fresh veggies to be incorporated into their nutritious meals.
Volunteers are welcome, and corporate groups can book sessions as a group to contribute to this worthy cause and enjoy a bit of team building at the same time. While I was there, there was a cheerful group from one of the bank sponsors putting on their aprons and rolling up their sleeves to make around 2,000 veggie rolls in an afternoon.
Donations of food ingredients are always needed, and financial contributions, either one off or on a regular basis, are essential to help them keep up the good work. Donate here.
This is a group that is making a real difference to people’s lives on a daily basis, through the soulful sharing of food.
It is sharing the love in the most practical and meaningful of ways…at the table.